Soccer Football - Champions League - Round of 16 Second Leg - Manchester City v Real Madrid - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - August 7, 2020 Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus in action with Real Madrid's Raphael Varane, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) (REUTERS)
Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane took full responsibility for his side’s 2-1 defeat at Manchester City on Friday after making two catastrophic errors which saw the Spanish side knocked out of the Champions League 4-2 on aggregate.
“I wanted to show my face because this defeat is mine,” French international Varane told reporters after the last-16 second leg at The Etihad Stadium.
“I have to take all the responsibility for this match. We played well in the game, we’d prepared well for it, but at this level if you make mistakes you end up paying a lot for them.”
The 27-year-old Varane, a four-time Champions League winner with Madrid and a world champion with France, was missing his usual defensive partner Sergio Ramos who was suspended and the Frenchman lost his concentration in two crucial moments.
Gabriel Jesus dispossessed the defender in his own area and teed up Raheem Sterling to tap in the opening goal after nine minutes before Karim Benzema equalised later in the first half.
After the break, Varane weakly headed the ball back towards his goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and Brazilian forward Jesus nipped in to score the second in the 68th and effectively end Real’s chances of turning the tie around.
“I can’t explain the errors but I have to accept them. This is a complicated moment for me,” added Varane, who has made over 300 appearances for Real since joining from Lens in 2011.
“This hasn’t happened to me many times in my career but something like this can always happen, errors are made all over the pitch but in my position they have a higher price.
“My team mates know I’m sad but I have to show character and get over this quickly. It’ll be a sad night for me. I’m a competitor and today I messed up. I’m not happy but I have to accept it.”
Real coach Zinedine Zidane said he did not need to speak to Varane about his performance and emphasised that the team still had a season to remember after winning the Liga title last month for the first time in three years.
“I have nothing to say to him, he has to stay calm and keep his chin up,” said Zidane, who was knocked out of the Champions League at the earliest stage as a coach after leading Real to a record three Champions League titles between 2016 and 2018.
“I have just told the players that 95% of what we have done this season was spectacular.”
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